Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Peru poison frog reveals secret of monogamy

BBC Earth News
22 February, 2010

By Matt Walker

The first monogamous amphibian has been discovered living in the rainforest of South America.
Genetic tests have revealed that male and females of one species of Peruvian poison frog remain utterly faithful.

More surprising is the discovery that just one thing - the size of the pools of water in which they lay their tadpoles - prevents the frogs straying. That constitutes the best evidence yet documented that monogamy can have a single cause, say scientists. Details of the frog's sex life is to be published in the journal The American Naturalist.

"This is the first discovery of a truly monogamous amphibian," says biologist Dr Jason Brown, then of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, who made the discovery with colleagues Dr Victor Morales and Professor Kyle Summers.

The monogamous frog species Ranitomeya imitator, known as the mimic poison frog, is already known to science. In recent years, Dr Brown and his colleagues have extensively studied many of its habits, which were filmed by the BBC natural history documentary series Life in Cold Blood.




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